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The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread


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Are you really unable to discern the difference? Basically I am saying DO NOT throw the drivers 'Under The Bus', both metaphorically and literally, in order to advance mass-transportation in Nashville. I think it is wrong-headed and will lessen the support for mass-transit projects.

I believe there to be many better solutions including the revised Dean plan NOT having dedicated BRT lanes on the highly congested roadways.

And I think it is wrong headed to not create more opportunities for mass transit, even at the expense of drivers. There is no law that says I have the right to all 8 lanes....unless of course we get into the political discussion again...

Areas with the most congestion is where it is most important to have dedicated lanes. First, these are the places where transportation demand most exceeds supply and where it is most beneficial to transport the most people per sqft of road space. Secondly, if the bus gets caught in traffic it increases travel time and destroys schedule reliability. Everyone who rides the bus is taking up a much smaller sqft of road than an auto passenger, benefitting everyone else and therefore meriting priority.

It seems to me that the value of road space as a publicly owned commodity is underestimated by some. It is owned by all tax payers and those sitting in a car take up a disproportionate amount of this resource without compensating everyone else for removing that space from all other potential uses. Short of charging tolls to decrease demand, increasing supply for transportation throughput is the only way to resolve the issue.

Kudos to you my friend. You actually get it...

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I'll avoid the political stuff today (mostly) and just stick with the "I don't think the legislature needs to micromanage our growth plan". I'm disappointed, but understanding if they don't want to fund it. I have a strong dislike for them creating new laws to thwart plans. Which is funny, because a lot of the same people that are on board with this (notice -- did not say all) are the same ones complaining about the feds doing the same thing to the states.

 

City rights!

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It's like the old saying "I can explain it to you, but I can't make you understand it."

This goes both ways.

 

Losing the BRT is not a huge deal in my mind. That being said, I do not like how they are going about to end it.  We need a transit solution into Nashville. BRT does nothing to solve the issue.

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It makes for a nice picture .... unfortunately it is far from reality. In fact you proved my previous points. 1) The bus is runs 3-4 times an hour (part of the day) and second you will have to know their utilization rate.

60 people; Cars, Bicycles, Buses

 

Busviacars_zps46b9beb8.jpg

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P2 history has shown that you are the ultimate cheerleader for 'all things' that benefit the local hospitality industry. Your support of BRT (with dedicated lanes) is not surprising, even though you admit it is a hardship on local Nashville drivers (taxpayers), and I have shown that it is not the best and highest utilization for the lanes...

 

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It makes for a nice picture .... unfortunately it is far from reality. In fact you proved my previous points. 1) The bus is runs 3-4 times an hour (part of the day) and second you will have to know their utilization rate.

 

This is true, but only to a point. Sure, your point is valid when considering moving traffic. But traffic doesn't move in a gridlock!

 

Also, there are a number of factors that weigh in on the decision to drive vs. ride the bus. Driving will certainly allow me to decide exactly when I will depart and have a moderate amount of control over when I arrive. Alternatively, I can wait an extra 7-8 minutes (average based on the 3-4 per hour) for a bus to come by so I can then:

  • With a dedicated lane, know exactly when I will arrive,
  • Work/read/play Angry Birds while en route,
  • Avoid gas expenses and wear & tear on my car,
  • Travel more safely (if the numerous studies cited are correct)
  • etc.

I understand the initial hardship on taxpayers, but there is so much to be gained! For that matter, what public works project in history has ever not been a hardship on taxpayers?

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This goes both ways.

 

Losing the BRT is not a huge deal in my mind. That being said, I do not like how they are going about to end it.  We need a transit solution into Nashville. BRT does nothing to solve the issue.

 

Guess what - you think if we get a lightrail plan in the works, one you believe in, the Koch Brothers are going to sit on the sidelines? You think the Republicans from outside of Nashville are going to sit on the sidelines? You think the FTA is going to provides funds knowing what happened last time they gave funds for mass transit in Tennessee?

 

This overreach of government has serious ramifications. It doesn't matter if one likes BRT or not. Tenneseee representatives think mass transit is an ole boondoggle! 

P2 history has shown that you are the ultimate cheerleader for 'all things' that benefit the local hospitality industry. Your support of BRT (with dedicated lanes) is not surprising, even though you admit it is a hardship on local Nashville drivers (taxpayers), and I have shown that it is not the best and highest utilization for the lanes...

 

you have said it is not the best and highest utilization for the lanes. You have only shown your opinion, which is entitled the same rights as the opposition's opinion. The only fact is that traffic is now going to be worse for all. At least traffic wasn't going to be bad for the Amp riders. 

Edited by nashvylle
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I know we're not supposed to get 'political' and all, but it is confusing to me to see some conservatives who claim to be all about small government support this legislative action.  I guess they're in support of small government only when it suits their agenda?  I don't know.  I don't get it.  I understand not supporting the state giving funding for this.  That's consistent with the 'small government' principle.  But this legislation is a HUGE overreach of a larger government against a smaller one.  I would think conservatives would be very much against it!  No?

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The prevailing mindset of the opposition reads as "I don't want to be inconvenienced at any cost." This entitlement attitude has become a national pandemic. As if it can't be fixed overnight, it's not worth fixing.

Edited by SoundScan
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Apologies nashville_bound.  Somehow I completely missed your response to me here from a couple days ago.

 

Well I believe if you look at the AMP's own rider projections they are projecting a 30% increase in bus riders along the planned route. The new riders would be composed of existing bus riders (no help there), tourists, new residents, and new riders.

 

Honestly, I do not have any answers at to the perfect solution. I am not critical of mass-transit and would actually favor an economical (if one existed) LRT solution. I do know that attempting to punish drivers to modify their behavior is the type of over-the-top, authoritarian behavior that I have come to loathe in government. Make the busses nice, synch the lights so they have an advantage  but do not carve out dedicated lanes that in any way reduces the current traffic (automobile) load.

Edited by BnaBreaker
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SS - the entire reason for the BRT (and the $175,000,000 price tag) is because mass-transit riders want to be catered to, or by golly I will not ride the bus. Let me remind you all that there is currently Bus service to (multiple routes) this exact route...I know because I use this service. BUT because riders want amenities - prepay, GPS tracking, platforms the same level as the bus (so what they do not want to be inconvenienced by taking stairs), and the coup de grace .... they want dedicated lanes so that that are not inconvenienced by things like traffic or red-lights.

 

 

Yes, I agree with you that the prevailing mindset is that 'The AMP rider does not want to be inconvenienced at any cost'...

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SS - the entire reason for the BRT (and the $175,000,000 price tag) is because mass-transit riders want to be catered to, or by golly I will not ride the bus. Let me remind you all that there is currently Bus service to (multiple routes) this exact route...I know because I use this service. BUT because riders want amenities - prepay, GPS tracking, platforms the same level as the bus (so what they do not want to be inconvenienced by taking stairs), and the coup de grace .... they want dedicated lanes so that that are not inconvenienced by things like traffic or red-lights.

 

 

Yes, I agree with you that the prevailing mindset is that 'The AMP rider does not want to be inconvenienced at any cost'...

 

Automobile travel is almost exclusively the ONLY way to get around Tennessee and each of it's towns and cities, and auto travel is almost exclusively the ONLY form of transportation that receives any funding from the state (a roughly $1,800,000,000 pricetag EVERY YEAR in recent years if I'm reading the state budget correctly), and this has been the case for decades upon decades.  With all due respect my friend, car drivers (and I am one) are possibly the most catered to group of people there are, so they have ZERO room to complain about any niceties desired by the BRT crowd, or any comparatively miniscule state funding they are asking for. 

Edited by BnaBreaker
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SS - the entire reason for the BRT (and the $175,000,000 price tag) is because mass-transit riders want to be catered to, or by golly I will not ride the bus. Let me remind you all that there is currently Bus service to (multiple routes) this exact route...I know because I use this service. BUT because riders want amenities - prepay, GPS tracking, platforms the same level as the bus (so what they do not want to be inconvenienced by taking stairs), and the coup de grace .... they want dedicated lanes so that that are not inconvenienced by things like traffic or red-lights.

 

 

Yes, I agree with you that the prevailing mindset is that 'The AMP rider does not want to be inconvenienced at any cost'...

 

We have an existing bus system, it is terrible. It is unreliable. It is inefficient. 

 

Why is it so hard to understand that a bus in traffic is not rapid, not reliable, not efficient? 

Automobile travel is almost exclusively the ONLY way to get around Tennessee and each of it's it's towns and cities, and auto travel is almost exclusively the ONLY form of transportation that receives any funding from the state (a roughly $1,800,000,000 pricetag EVERY YEAR in recent years), and this has been the case for decades upon decades.  With all due respect, car drivers are possibly the most catered to group of people there are, so they have ZERO room to complain about any niceties desired by the BRT crowd. 

 

I think you just became my personal hero.  

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SS - the entire reason for the BRT (and the $175,000,000 price tag) is because mass-transit riders want to be catered to, or by golly I will not ride the bus. Let me remind you all that there is currently Bus service to (multiple routes) this exact route...I know because I use this service. BUT because riders want amenities - prepay, GPS tracking, platforms the same level as the bus (so what they do not want to be inconvenienced by taking stairs), and the coup de grace .... they want dedicated lanes so that that are not inconvenienced by things like traffic or red-lights.

 

 

Yes, I agree with you that the prevailing mindset is that 'The AMP rider does not want to be inconvenienced at any cost'...

 

NO. It's to help create and encourage a new group of mass transit riders. Catering only to current riders does nothing to solve traffic issues. The AMP is a starting point; a pilot program. Pretending as though the AMP was designed as a end-all-be-all solution is purposefully and intentionally misleading.

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NYC should move it's subway trains above ground onto the city streets so as to be fair to all of the drivers stuck in traffic. Everyone should be inconvenienced equally, regardless of their personal transportation choices and the respective inefficiencies.

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All I want is options, alternatives, choices--call it what you will. The current bus system serves an economic need, not a transportation need. Supporting unimodal transportation policy is akin to supporting Comcast and their near-monopoly in the region. There's a reason so many people are literally praying for Google Fiber to select Nashville as an expansion city.

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A big problem I keep hearing from friends/acquaintances that sound off on the issue is "but this won't fix our traffic problems" and either go off on how West End will be more messed up, or that we should focus more on either widening interstates (which I can understand at certain bottlenecks, but not in terms of Atlantanization and having 16 lane interstate corridors) or focusing on commuter rail (which I do support -- but that will only solve the problem of getting into the city, not getting around the city).

 

I think the perception of most that are casually aware of the Amp debate is that the Amp is intended to "fix" our problems. I don't think it was ever really pitched as that, and I think that is a short-sighted conclusion, whether for or against the Amp. The Amp should be the backbone to our transportation network, and eventually should cover multiple corridors, as a means of bypassing the normally slow-paced bus system with frequent stops. It (or any similar proposal involving light rail or streetcars) is the beginning piece of a new type of infrastructure that will be necessary -- not so much now -- but in the coming decades, as the Nashville area continues to grow at a fairly rapid clip. 

 

I don't think a lot of people realize just how fast this area is growing. The metro is adding about 300,000 residents per decade, and has been since around 1990. That number is likely to see a slight increase. That means by 2030, the metro will have more than 2.3 million residents. More than 600,000 new residents. I think we are dreaming if we think that our current infrastructure can handle that. New roads WILL be necessary. Some road widening WILL be necessary. But that simply will not be enough. There has to be an alternative.

 

On top of that, the recent growth estimates are showing a shift towards urban growth, and the city of Nashville is catching a larger share than it has in the previous Censuses. The city is forecasting growth of over 100,000 per decade, which is unprecedented in the city's history. This means by 2030, Nashville could have more than 800,000 residents in the city. Since we can't expand our borders, and close to 1/3 of the county is not suitable for large scale development, this means that most of this will be infill growth and utilize our existing infrastructure. Most of our surface corridors simply cannot be widened, and interstate widening will only go so far. 200,000 new residents will absolutely choke our city streets if cars are the only viable means of getting around.

 

Mass transit will NOT "solve" Nashville's arising problem, but it WILL help manage it.

this is exactly what I keep trying to explain to my friends that dont get it, they all seem to think the fix is not adequate, I try to explain it is not a fix we need for current problems but for future needs, and that we need many options. but we have to start somewhere. I even recently had a friend tell me that maybe when the current Star is at capacity we should look at more transit. I tried to explain that if it was at full capacity all the time that it would have been under designed, he didnt seem to get that.

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I don't think that any of this has to do with anything but efficiency - none of this really has to do with providing special amenities (unless being able to show up at a bus stop with a general idea of when the bus is coming and when I will get to my destination is a special amenity). 

 

  • Prepay - bus drivers are constantly sitting at a stop waiting for someone as they count through coins trying to find money for their fare - this puts buses behind schedule.
  • GPS Tracking - If a bus is running 15 minutes behind schedule, allowing riders to know this is seems reasonable.
  • Level boarding - No, this is not because riders do not want to be inconvenienced taking stairs. It is because there are a lot of riders in wheel chairs (I had at least one wheelchair pickup every day when I was taking the 3/5). It takes 3-4 minutes for a driver to get the ramp down, get the rider on with the chair locked down, and get the ramp back up. On days when we had two wheelchair pickups, my ride time would literally double. This also allows people to bring bikes right on instead of wasting time attaching them to the front of the bus.
  • Dedicated Lanes - This has already been discussed enough, but falls into the same category of time/predictability.

 

All I'm trying to say is that public transportation is far more efficient and cost effective when more people are riding. You won't hit the ridership tipping point until people can have reasonably predictable service that gets them where they need to be in a reasonable amount of time (i.e. not more time than it would take to walk).

 

The discussion on what balance to strike between inconveniences to drivers, cost to taxpayers, etc., is a reasonable one to have. I don't, however, think large groups of people will ever start riding a bus system with no semi-predictable arrival and departure times.

 

The bottom line is that it is better for taxpayers, drivers, everyone if more people are taking public transit - this is simply a more efficient, less resource-heavy way to move people around the city. Rather than looking at this from a "look at all of these things the bus riders are demanding" perspective, I think we are better suited to ask what we need to do to get more people riding public transportation and what will it cost to get us there.

 

 

That pretty much sums it up.

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Just in. If project gets state funds then approval of budget equals state approval. If it doesn't use state funding, requires separate approval. So, this just happened 5 min ago in conference committee but, the way I understand it is that dedicated lanes are back on the table as long as state approves of project.

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Just in. If project gets state funds then approval of budget equals state approval. If it doesn't use state funding, requires separate approval. So, this just happened 5 min ago in conference committee but, the way I understand it is that dedicated lanes are back on the table as long as state approves of project.

 

I'm not holding my breath, but that's a very interesting development.  Please keep us posted!!!

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